Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

US Judge rules for Eggleston in dispute with collector

This is an interesting little spat that ended up in court and featured one of our favourite photographers William Eggleston

Celebrated American photographer William Eggleston won a legal victory last month when a judge in the US District Court in the Southern District of New York dismissed a claim of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation brought by collector Jonathan Sobel. Sobel is an avid Eggleston collector who owns 190 of the artist’s prints and even helped finance a 2008 Eggleston retrospective at the Whitney Museum, where he is a trustee.

The legal dispute arose because Sobel owns an 11.75″ x 17.38″ dye transfer print of Eggleston’s famous Memphis (Tricycle) image, shown below, for which he reportedly paid $250,000. That print is one of an edition of 20 that was created in the 1980s. Last year a large format 44″ x 60″ inkjet print, authorized by Eggleston and made from a digital scan of the same film, was sold at a Christie’s auction for $578,500. Sobel argued that by creating a new set of large format inkjet prints beyond the 30-year old limited edition of dye transfer prints of the same image, Eggleston was diluting the value of the earlier Sobel-owned print. As Sobel told ARTINFO in an interview after filing his claim, ‘The commercial value of art is scarcity, and if you make more of something, it becomes less valuable.’ From DP Review, read the full article here

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